How binge drinking ”drives heart disease”November 27th, 2008 - 12:59 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Nov 27 (ANI): A team of researchers has identified the precise mechanisms by which binge drinking contributes to clogs in arteries that lead to heart attack and stroke.
Their study contributes to a growing body of evidence that drinking patterns matter as much, if not more, to risk for cardiovascular disease than the total amount consumed.
Going on a ”binge” means having five or more drinks for men, and four or more drinks for women, in two hours, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Many studies suggest that an irregular pattern of heavy drinking brings about a two-fold increase in risk for a fatal heart attack, even as moderate drinking has been shown to reduce risk (the red wine effect).
Alcoholic beverages contain ethanol, which is mostly converted into acetaldehyde once in the human system at ”binge” levels, with the levels of acetaldehyde remaining high for many hours after the binge has ended.
The new study clarified for the first time that binge levels of acetaldehyde cause an important type of immune cell, the monocyte, to become better able to stick to blood vessel walls, an important step in initiating atherosclerotic disease.
Researchers said that clarifying these mechanisms promises to empower the design of new treatments to counter the effects when combined with lifestyle change.
In the past, experts believed that atherosclerosis developed when too much cholesterol clogged arteries with fatty deposits called plaques. When blood vessels became completely blocked, heart attacks occurred.
Now most believe that the reaction of the body’’s immune system, more than the build-up itself, creates heart attack risk.
Vessel walls mistake fatty deposits for intruders, akin to bacteria, and call for help from the immune system.
Among other cell types, monocytes arrive with the goal of preventing infection, but end up causing inflammation that drives blood vessel blockage.
“Factors like binge-drinking have been linked to increased risk for heart disease, and the newer inflammatory model is beginning to explain how,” said John Cullen, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
“One of our experiments found that acetaldehyde, at levels found in the blood after binge drinking, increased the number of monocytes that can adhere to cells lining blood vessels by 700 percent,” said Cullen, who led the study.
The authors hope the results of the new study empower public health campaigns that discourage binge drinking.
The study is published in the journal Atherosclerosis. (ANI)
- Vaccines for heart attacks to be ready within 5 years - Apr 01, 2012
- Biomarker can nip hardening of arteries in the bud - Jan 22, 2012
- Targeting fatty acids in immune cells may cut atherosclerosis risk - Jul 24, 2010
- Experts wary of Lancet's study on good cholesterol - Jun 14, 2012
- Gene network behind hardening arteries identified - Sep 19, 2010
- Clogged arteries can also cause clouded thinking - Jul 22, 2011
- Weight loss lowers diabetics' risk of heart attacks - May 04, 2012
- Post-menopause, women more vulnerable to heart attacks - Jun 12, 2012
- New technique to identify potential atherosclerosis risk found - Apr 12, 2011
- Vegan lifestyle 'ups risk of heart attack, stroke' - Apr 07, 2011
- Wine's role ambiguous in protecting heart - Jan 31, 2012
- Breakthrough can re-grow blood vessels in heart - Feb 17, 2012
- Scientists develop new animal model to tackle liver disease - Jul 05, 2012
- New study reinforces belly fat, high-fat meals and heart disease link - Feb 18, 2011
- Chemical in plastic bottles aggravates heart risk - Aug 16, 2012
Tags: acetaldehyde, alcohol abuse, alcohol abuse and alcoholism, alcoholic beverages, binge drinking, blood vessel walls, body of evidence, clogged arteries, disease researchers, fatal heart, fatty deposits, heart attack, heart attack risk, immune cell, lifestyle change, moderate drinking, monocyte, national institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism, precise mechanisms, red wine